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April 15, 2008

Tehran ramblings....

Tehran is fascinating. Our Western Media don't tell half the story. For instance it doesn't present the image of a city like any other filled, not with fanatics, but with ordinary people all struggling to make a living. Our hosts here, fairly senior ogfficers of the fire service, all have second jobs to pay their way. The economy has the potential to be huge, but the Rial is currently worth IR9,900 = $1. A second currency unit, the Taman is worth 10 Rials, and most goods come in units of Thousands of either.

Property is expensive here in Tehran and most ordinary people struggle to find a place they can afford a small flat can cost several Billion Rials. But, by contrast, property in many of the other cities is much lower, but then, work is not that readily available.

After the overthrow of the Shah in 1979 several things happened, among them attempts to put the Shah back into power. But, when you learn how things ran under his regime, you do wonder at the Realpolitik that was going on behind it all. This, after all, is a country surrounded by potential enemies, not least the former USSR to the north and Iraq under the secularist Saddam to the west. Because the army had propped up the Shah and been led by his placemen - it was reduced to almost nothing while the constitutional arrangements were sorted out. And Saddam took advantage, perhaps hoping to gain more territory and attacked Iran in the now infamous Iran/Iraq war.

Now, its a funny thing, but I wonder how many of us have been consulted on what our constitutions say? Labour under Blair and now Brown have rewritten our constitution but refuse to honour their election pledge to allow a refendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty. The Iranian regime, while not one I would choose to live under, has at least been agreed to by the majority of the population. Like us, they have a problem with Al Qaeda, the Mujaheddin and the Taliban. And recently they have intervened on behalf of the Iraqi government with Moqtadr Al Sadr, apparently with more success than our efforts.

Perhaps it is time to silence those who insist on imposing Western "values" and standards on a people who don't share our cultural history and probably never will.

Posted by The Gray Monk at April 15, 2008 06:12 AM

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